Wild Fig Tree by South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) is typical of the bushveld scenes and other landscapes of which Pierneef was known for painting. Pierneef’s fascination with trees began at an early age while exploring the outskirts of Pretoria. It was particularly the character of various tree species and how the trunks, branches and leaves contributed to the forms and shapes of the trees that fascinated the artist. He spent hours sketching every detail of a specific tree and his depictions of the South African skyscape is iconic of his oeuvre. Pierneef's tree subjects included Baobab trees, Fig Trees and Acacias such as Camel-thorn, Sweet-thorn, Fever-tree and Wild Seringa. Short biography: Jacob Hendrik (Henk) Pierneef was born in 1886 in Pretoria, South Africa. As a child, he studied art at school, along with other students who would later become well-known artists, such as Fanie Eloff for sculpture and Gordon Leith for architecture. In 1900, Pierneef went with his parents to The Netherlands as a means to avoid the hostilities of the South African War (1899-1902) where he studied at the Rotterdam Art Academy. Pierneef returned to South Africa in 1904 and studied under the prominent artists Anton van Wouw, Frans Oerder and Hugo Naude. In 1913, Pierneef had his first solo exhibition and rapidly became one of the most recognised names in South African art. In 1929 he was commissioned to create panels for the new Johannesburg Railway station, a project which today would be seen as one of his greatest achievements. Pierneef received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria in 1957 in recognition of his work, shortly after in the same year he passed away in Pretoria.


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